The Common Good
May-June 2002

No Easy Answers

by Norm Mundhenk | May-June 2002

I want to thank you for Jim Wallis' article "Hard Questions for Peacemakers."

I want to thank you for Jim Wallis' article "Hard Questions for Peacemakers" (January-February 2002). In it he credits Gandhi with the statement "If a lunatic is loose in the village and threatening people, you first deal with the lunatic, and then the lunacy."

I have been troubled for some time by the seeming inability of our nonviolent approaches to deal with cases when a lunatic is loose as the ruler of a particular country. We have seen too many cases of such lunatics: Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Samuel Doe, Papa Doc Duvalier, Milosevic, and many more.

We "peacemakers" seem consistently to urge diplomatic negotiations while these lunatics terrorize their people. For those of us who believe in nonviolence, it is obviously an enormous challenge to think of effective ways of dealing with this issue. It is a bit saddening that it takes an attack on the United States to draw our attention to the importance of this issue. But even if we feel sad or even embarrassed, it should only spur us all the more to take up this challenge.

Norm Mundhenk
Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea

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